It is common knowledge that for lifelong success children require the love and guiding discipline of their parents. Again and again society demonstrates that it is practically impossible to grow into a confident, competent adult without wise supervision, although some amazing children manage to do it. Most often, children without positive, familial role models transition into adulthood as angry, disenchanted members of the world and they in turn produce more disenchantment by having their own children.
As a former teacher, I know the anguish of trying to reach and teach children who simply do not care about learning or about academic success. They are content to play video games and run with friends rather than attend to the business of studying, practicing, and attending to the responsibility of advancing brain power as a foundation for a lifetime of work place contentment (and more). Occasionally some students fly effortlessly, regardless of past home experience, but the majority struggle because there is no respect or belief in the value of a well-rounded education. What can you do to assure learning achievement for your child?
Review the love and guiding discipline statement at the beginning of this article. Love is unequivocal with children but must also be brimming with expectations and demands for excellence in behavior at home and school, with family and friends, and in expanding knowledge and academic success. This does not mean undue pressure for grades and awards nor does it mean forcing children into tiny molds of mini-you. It does require that you pay careful attention to your child as s/he faces learning challenges. So how do you guarantee learning growth and development?
Research replicates its findings that successful children read and comprehend well and are able to apply analytical and logical reasoning to mathematical problems. Just about any educational website will provide information on supporting your child’s learning in these areas. There are two more elements necessary for balanced learning that completes the essential toolkit for academic success: writing and wide vocabulary.
Children need to write every day. After all, how did you become an expert in your field? It arrived though practice and more practice. From hair stylist to architect, from classroom teacher to professional presenter, each one has become more proficient (and more confident and competent) through hours of practice, study, adjustment, manipulation, coupled with the willingness to not give up, to persevere and conquer. Surprisingly many parents want success for their children but they want it to be automatic, to be a given, and so through leniency they relegate learning to a “save for later” status as they move forward with trivial fun and entertainment.
I have nothing against fun and entertainment, but I also know that thinking about an adventure makes it longer lasting and more significant. To preserve the memory I need to write about it. Whether in a diary or a journal, the wordy description of each day must fall. Have your child explain following a recipe and baking a delicious cake; describe the odd scratch of Grandpa’s beard and the smell of his strangely outdoorsy aftershave; relive the tumbling thrill of circling in a bi-plane over the hills behind your home; examine the intricacies of construction of the wasp nest underneath the eaves of your home. One item, one adventure a day will advance writing skills as details are emphasized and re-enactment of the moment solidifies memories and expands abilities. Being able to write with description and explanation reveals knowledge as well as possible misunderstandings. As a daily habit of the mind and pen, it enriches thinking and awareness of the wonders that surround each of us.
Vocabulary is the insightful co-star of writing. Rich, descriptive words enliven writing while clarifying and pinpointing precise and profound meaning. The kite flying experience may have been “nice”, but imagine all of the other words that could be used to better exemplify it: pleasant, exhilarating, wildly crazy, or goofily zigzagging. As a writing guide select one word, one that is common and overused, and then brainstorm other words that could replace it and draw out greater meaning. One word per page, per writing day, translates into 365 wonderful words a year. What a magnificent trick for augmenting vocabulary while improving self-expression which leads to confidence and competence, indispensable attributes for each learning individual.
Gathering vocabulary in reading is of great value, as well. Create bookmarks for reading with note cards or cardstock paper. Label the bookmark with the title of the book and author or the name of the magazine or newspaper and date. Now start your list. Each time a zesty word splashes into sight, jot it onto the list. You may discuss the meanings as you go or look at them as a whole as you end a paragraph or page. Tally mark the word if it turns up again in the reading. Discuss other possible words that could have been used and add them to your list. When the bookmark is filled, hole punch the corner and add it to a metal ring. Day by day you will create a blossoming supply of words, increasing vocabulary card by card.
Pay attention to how often words are reused by an author. This provides insight into writing style and word craftsmanship of a writer. It also teaches that truly tremendous words can rarely be reused in an article, even in an entire book. One wistfully or alacrity is all you get. Redundancy of supreme words is redundant! It also takes away the significance and wonder of that word.
Writing together and searching for words offers many benefits and bondings. Besides increasing the magic of the mind it also unleashes the potential of stronger family ties. Love and discipline sprinkled with a desire for abundant learning and volumnizing brainpower are ominous prospects for forever success. You will discover that some words that do not currently exist should. Envision crafting designer words that exactly match your writing needs. How creativity you can become!